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Pope meets with Council of Cardinals, beginning busy week at Vatican

Catholic World News - February 17, 2014

Pope Francis and the 8 members of the Council of Cardinals began 3 days of meetings on Monday, February 17.

Meeting this week for the 3rd time, the Council of Cardinals will devote its discussions mainly to financial and administrative affairs. The meetings of the Council of Cardinals will be followed by an extraordinary consistory of all the world’s cardinals on Thursday and Friday, February 20 and 21, following by the elevation of 16 new cardinals at a consistory on Saturday, February 22.

Briefing reporters on Monday’s meetings, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that the morning’s meeting of the Council of Cardinals had heard a report from the special papal commission created in July to study the economic and administrative structures of the Holy See. The chairman of that commission, Josef Zahra, presented a report to the cardinals.

No decisions were made during the morning session, Father Lombardi said. However the cardinals were due to continue discussing the commission’s report in the afternoon session. Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, attended the Monday-morning meeting and will continue to sit with the Council of Cardinals, Father Lombardi said, but the Vatican spokesman indicated that Archbishop Parolin (who will become a cardinal on Saturday) had not been added as a member of the Council of Cardinals, the group that Pope Francis created to help him with revisions of the Roman Curia.

On Tuesday, the Council of Cardinals will turn their attention to the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). On Wednesday the group will meet with the cardinals who oversee the preparation of budget statements for the Vatican. Pope Francis is expected to attend most of these sessions, leaving for his regular weekly public audience at midday on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the world’s cardinals will gather in the Vatican’s Synod Hall for two days of free discussions. The only talks officially scheduled for the meeting, Father Lombardi said, are a greeting by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals; and a talk by Cardinal Walter Kasper. The remainder of the two-day meeting has been left free for open discussion.

The choice of Cardinal Kasper to speak at the consistory could indicate that the meeting will take up the question of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics: a question that has prompted intense discussion in recent weeks especially among German-speaking prelates.

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